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A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

The Gottes-Tour - Lutherlands and Oberammergau


Gottes-tour 2020

In late 1632, the bubonic plague was killing one in a thousand per year in Oberammergau, Bavaria, but suddenly the death rate spiked to twenty deaths in the month of March 1633 alone. The story goes that the residents of the village vowed that if God would spare them, they would put on a play depicting the life and death of Jesus from that time forward and for all time, to be repeated every ten years. After their vow, the adult death rate came back down to only one in the month of July 1633. The villagers believed they had been spared because of the vow, and therefore performed the promised play for the first time in 1634. In our day the play is performed in every year ending in zero, repeatedly over the course of five months of that year. The last time this happened was between May and October of 2010. Over 2,000 performers, musicians, and technicians are involved, all residents of Oberammergau. The play includes spoken drama as well as musical and choral arrangements, as well as various scenes from the Old Testament (called tableaux vivants) using motionless actors to portray fulfillment in Christ.

The next time it is scheduled is in the year 2020, and Gottesdienst is will be hosting a tour. The tour will include the Lutherlands—Eisleben, Eisenach, Wartburg, and Wittenberg—as well as Berlin, Leipzig, and, of course, Oberammergau in Bavaria. Since it’s a Gottesdienst tour, the tourists would also be treated to chapel services led by Gottesdienst editors, in some of the grand historic churches of Germany.

Interested? We’re planning an 11-day tour of the Luther-lands and Oberammergau beginning in July 22, 2020 at the reasonable price of $4479 per person, which includes first-class admission tickets for the famous Passion Play, plus roundtrip airfare from Chicago, accomodations at first-class and select hotels (two persons per two-bedded room with private bath; hotels and guest-houses are used at Oberammergau), daily breakfast plus seven dinners, a professional tour director, comprehensive sightseeing and transfers by private motorcoach, all hotel service charges, value-added taxes, porterage where available, an entrance fees per the itinerary, and automatic $100,000 flight insurance for Nawas ticketed passengers.

It also includes daily time with four Gottesdienst editors: Rev. Dr. Burnell Eckardt (editor-in-chief), Rev. Dr. Chaplain (Col.) Jonathan E. Shaw (Sabre-of-Boldness editor), Rev. Fr. Benjamin Ball (blogger and conference chairman), and Rev. Fr. Jason Braaten (blogger and producer of the podcast The Gottesdienst Crowd), and their wives. We expect to be leading the group with the daily office (including daily homilies), and mass on Sunday morning in Wittenberg. Our editors will also be providing expert commentary, interviews, and discussion about important Lutheran Reformation topics that emanated from the very places we plan to visit. Contact Pastor Ball for more info bball (at)

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